BudgIT Advocates Expansion Of EITI Boundaries

A civil Society Organization BudgIT, is calling for the expansion of the boundaries of the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) implementation to include the new standards on Beneficial Ownership and Contract Transparency.

The organization made the call during a one-day engagement workshop for stakeholders on Open Contracting.

According to the Senior Research and Policy Analyst of BudgIT Iniobong Usen, the advocacy on beneficial ownership and contract transparency has not been strong enough and has resulted to unaccountability and poor quality of contracts adding that the processes of awarding contracts are being manipulated.

He informed that the essence of the workshop was to share knowledge and strategic ways to collaborate and advocate the implementation of Open Contracting since the representatives act as dummies or pawns to the policymakers, thereby neglecting the needs of the electorates.

 On his part, the executive director of We The People, Ken Henshaw said that the laws and policies that regulate the extractive sector are outdated and the fight against corruption in Nigeria has been hampered by the negligence of the law enforcement agencies.

He stressed the importance of Contract Transparency and expressed worry that citizens at the grassroots have little or no knowledge of contract transparency and make no demand of their rights with regards to that and called for an independent agency responsible for regulating and investigating the financial books of the Presidency, contracts and sub-contracts.

 Participants at the workshop unanimously recommended that Civil Society Organisations do set an agenda on open contracting and beneficial ownership for electorates while teaching the citizens how to demand accountability from relevant authorities.

They further recommended the engagement of the right persons that can speak to policy makers to help achieve accountability and transparency especially as CSOs are making little impact on the government.

They maintained that government should carry out due diligence on who they award contracts to and expressed belief that training the media on knowledge of contract transparency, reviewing the laws of extractive sector and recommending strategies based on the latest standard will go along way in ensuring contract transparency.

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